John Carpenter’s The Ward (15) **

John Carpenter's The Ward
John Carpenter's The Ward
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For more than 35 years, director John Carpenter has been making audiences shudder and scream with nightmarish visions including Assault On Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing and Christine.

Carpenter returns to the director’s chair for a very different though equally bloodthirsty ghost story penned by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen.

The Ward unfolds in a 1960s mental institution and commits the cardinal sin of wilfully cheating the audience for the sake of a final reel twist.

Unlike The Sixth Sense, the Rasmussen brothers’ spooky tale of things that go bump in the night offers a couple of clues to its convoluted design.

However, there is little reward for outsmarting the writers and the coda is deeply old-fashioned, employing the same primitive shock tactics as Carpenter’s earlier horror films.

The Ward doesn’t stray too far from our expectations, slowly whittling down the cast as dark forces run rampant through the hospital corridors.